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News / September 15, 2009

Health service revamp revealed

by Guy Hiscott

The National Director of the HSE’s Primary, Community and Continuing Care Directorate, Laverne McGuinness, said today that the HSE’s plan to devolve decision making closer to the point of service delivery will be driven by performance contracts, incentives and sanctions.

She said that under the HSE’s new regional structure, performance contracts between central and regional management teams will be used to ensure that clinical quality, service volumes, service improvement and budget targets are being met.

‘At the heart of our management process will be performance contracts. They will be binding and if regional teams fail to meet their targets they could have some elements of their financial authority withdrawn,’ she said.

The process to merge the HSE’s two main service directorates, the National Hospital Office and Primary, Community and Continuing Care, into a single Integrated Services Directorate begins next month. The move is central to the HSE’s strategy to integrate hospital and community services at national and local level.

Four regional teams, which will have full accountability and responsibility for local health and social care services, will report to the national Integrated Services Directorate. The Directorate will be responsible for holding these regional teams accountable for their performance. This will cover both day-to-day service delivery and service improvement.  

Within this Directorate Ms McGuinness will be responsible for monitoring the performance and financial management of each regional team and the Care Group Managers.

She said: ‘The advantage of having regional teams led by Regional Directors of Operations is that there will now be one person ultimately responsible for all health and social care services in each of our four regions. 

‘Up to now this responsibility has been spread between a number of executives with no one person accountable for all services in a region. This has not been in the best interest of patients and clients. It held us back in being able to respond swiftly to their changing needs. This new approach will take decision making and accountability closer to patients and clients.